Monday Evening Book Club February Selection

Born a crimeThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, February 11 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the memoir Born a Crime : stories from a South African childhood by Trevor Noah.

About the book…

One of the comedy world’s fastest-rising stars tells his wild coming of age story during the twilight of apartheid in South Africa and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed. Noah provides something deeper than traditional memoirists: powerfully funny observations about how farcical political and social systems play out in our lives. Trevor Noah is the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, where he gleefully provides America with its nightly dose of serrated satire. He is a light-footed but cutting observer of the relentless absurdities of politics, nationalism and race–and in particular the craziness of his own young life, which he’s lived at the intersections of culture and history. In his first book, Noah tells his coming of age story with his larger-than-life mother during the last gasps of apartheid-era South Africa and the turbulent years that followed. Noah was born illegal–the son of a white, Dutch father and a black Xhosa mother, who had to pretend to be his nanny or his father’s servant in the brief moments when the family came together. His brilliantly eccentric mother loomed over his life–a comically zealous Christian (they went to church six days a week and three times on Sunday), a savvy hustler who kept food on their table during rough times, and an aggressively involved, if often seriously misguided, parent who set Noah on his bumpy path to stardom. The stories Noah tells are sometimes dark, occasionally bizarre, frequently tender, and always hilarious–whether he’s subsisting on caterpillars during months of extreme poverty or making comically pitiful attempts at teenage romance in a color-obsessed world; whether’s he’s being thrown into jail as the hapless fall guy for a crime he didn’t commit or being thrown by his mother from a speeding car driven by murderous gangsters.

Trevor Noah’s website

NPR interview highlights

Interviews on Youtube

A “Guardian Live” interview

“The View” interview

Discussion questions

A Huffington Post book review

A Guardian review

Map of South Africa

History of Apartheid

 

Monday Evening Book Club January Selection

Lillian Boxfish takes a walkThe Monday Evening Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday January 14 in the 2nd floor Training Room to discuss the novel  Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney.

About the book…

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.

As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop. (Author’s website)

Meet Chicago’s modern-day flaneuse: an interview with Kathleen Rooney

Interview with author Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney describes the process of writing Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

The real Lillian Boxfish: Margaret Fishback 

New York City in the 1980’s 

In praise of walking (and witty women) 

Chicago Tribune review

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club November Selection

Boat peopleThe Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, November 12 in the second floor Training Room to discuss The Boat People, a novel by Sharon Bala.

About the book …

The Boat People is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism. When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks–and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum. Told through the alternating perspectives of Mahindan; his lawyer, Priya, a second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian who reluctantly represents the refugees; and Grace, a third-generation Japanese Canadian adjudicator who must decide Mahindan’s fate as evidence mounts against him, The Boat People is a spellbinding and timely novel that provokes a deeply compassionate lens through which to view the current refugee crisis”–Provided by publisher.

Author website

Sharon Bala and Canada Reads 2018

An Interview with Sharon Bala

Sharon Bala on YouTube

Discussion Questions

Book review in The Tyee

Kirkus book review

MV Sun Sea incident (2010)

The Guardian article (2010)

The Tyee Opinion article (2010)

National Post article (2017) 

Ocean Lady Incident article

MV Sun Sea on YouTube

Komagata Maru indident (1914)

Komagata Maru on YouTube

 

 

Monday Evening Book Club October Selection

ferrante2

The Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, October 22 in the second floor Training Room to discuss My Brilliant Friend, a novel by Elena Ferrante.

About the book

A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable style lends itself perfectly to a meticulous portrait of these two women that is also the story of a nation and a touching meditation on the nature of friendship. The story begins in the 1950s, in a poor but vibrant neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples. Growing up on these tough streets the two girls learn to rely on each other ahead of anyone or anything else. As they grow, as their paths repeatedly diverge and converge, Elena and Lila remain best friends whose respective destinies are reflected and refracted in the other. They are likewise the embodiments of a nation undergoing momentous change. (Publisher)

About the author

Ferrante is the pseudonymous author of three previous works of critically acclaimed fiction: The Days of AbandonmentTroubling Love, and The Lost Daughter. With My Brilliant Friend – the first of four Neopolitan novels – she proves herself to be one of Italy’s great storytellers. She has given her readers a masterfully plotted page-turner, abundant and generous in its narrative details and characterizations, that is also a stylish work of literary fiction destined to delight her many fans and win new readers to her fiction. The other three novels in the Neopolitan series are The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and The Story of the Lost Child.

Based on published interviews, Ferrante claims to have been born in 1943 in Naples, Italy.

Monday Evening Book Club September Selection

GoldfinchThe Monday Evening Drop-In Book Club will meet at 7:00 pm on Monday, September 10 in the second floor Training Room to discuss The Goldfinch, a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Donna Tartt.

About the book…

The Goldfinch is a rarity that comes along perhaps half a dozen times per decade, a smartly written literary novel that connects with the heart as well as the mind….Donna Tartt has delivered an extraordinary work of fiction.”–Stephen King, The New York Times Book Review

Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love–and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate. (Publisher)

About Donna Tartt

A New York Times interview

An Irish Independent interview

Discussion Questions

A Vanity Fair book review

A Guardian book review

The Goldfinch movie information

The Goldfinch (painting by Carel Fabritius)

The Tragic true story of The Goldfinch

Video interview with Charlie Rose

Other YouTube video interviews